Nine are under age 80 and eligible to vote in a conclave to elect a new pope, further solidifying the majority of Francis-appointed prelates in the College of Cardinals

Pope elevating 13 new cardinals in ceremony marked by Covid-19

Pope Francis is making ready to formally elevate 13 new cardinals, together with the primary African-American to obtain the rank, in a ceremony marked in each approach by the coronavirus pandemic: Two of the cardinals stayed dwelling, the remainder eschewed the standard celebrations and St. Peter’s Basilica was virtually empty for Saturday’s service.

The ceremony, generally known as a consistory, is the seventh of Francis’ preach and as soon as once more mirrored the Argentine pope’s effort to call cardinals from locations which have by no means had them earlier than or whose service to the church he desires to focus on. Nine are below age 80 and eligible to vote in a conclave to elect a brand new pope, additional solidifying the vast majority of Francis-appointed prelates within the College of Cardinals.

Cardinal-designate Wilton Gregory, archbishop of Washington D.C., is changing into the primary African-American cardinal. He instructed The Associated Press forward of the ceremony that he seen his appointment as “an affirmation of Black Catholics in the United States, the heritage of faith and fidelity that we represent.” Gregory’s appointment comes after a yr of racial protests within the US sparked by the newest killing of a Black man by a white police officer. Francis has endorsed the protests and cited the American historical past of racial injustices.

“There is awareness now of the need for racial reconciliation, an awareness that I have not seen at this level and at this intensity before,” Gregory stated.

Another social justice-minded cardinal is the retired archbishop of Chiapas, Mexico, Cardinal-designate Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel, who has championed the rights of Mexico’s indigenous peoples and spearheaded efforts to translate the Bible and liturgical texts into native languages.

Francis visited Chiapas in 2016 and has lengthy championed the rights of indigenous peoples. “That could be one of the reasons (he made me a cardinal) but I can’t confirm it,” Esquivel stated throughout a Zoom name.

The Vatican’s in-house theologian-preacher, Cardinal-designate Raniero Cantalamessa, can be getting a pink hat, however he efficiently argued in opposition to being made a bishop as nicely, saying at his age — 86 — he couldn’t tackle the duty.

The ceremony was going down in opposition to the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, which erupted in Italy in February and has seen a resurgence this fall. The Vatican is below a modified lockdown, with the Vatican Museums shuttered and Francis’ public common audiences cancelled. Instead he holds them in non-public, livestreamed.

The cardinal candidates and different who got here to Rome from afar for Saturday’s service had been required to bear 10 days of Vatican-mandated quarantine on the pope’s lodge, the place meals had been delivered to their rooms, Zoom calls supplied contact with the surface and the cardinals’ new pink robes had been hand-delivered by Rome’s famed ecclesial tailors.

Usually, consistories are filled with events and crowds, with days of receptions, Masses and dinners for the brand new cardinals and their associates. Usually, the consistory itself can be adopted by “courtesy visits,” the place the brand new cardinals greet well-wishers and most of the people from the grandeur of their very own reception rooms within the Apostolic Palace or Vatican auditorium. This yr, there shall be no courtesy visits, and every cardinal was given a 10-guest restrict.

With Saturday’s new cardinals, Francis has named 73 of the 128 voting-age cardinals, in comparison with 39 for Pope Benedict XVI and 16 for St. John Paul II. While the result of a future conclave can by no means be predicted, it’s not a stretch to counsel {that a} hefty majority of in the present day’s electors presumably share the pastoral and doctrinal attitudes of the pope who named them.

The geographical make-up of the College of Cardinals has additionally shifted below Francis away from Europe, although Europe stays the best voting bloc with 53 electors. The Americas – North, Central and South and the Caribbean – collectively have 37 cardinal electors, regardless that an estimated 40% of the worlds Catholics dwell in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Saturday’s consistory is uncommon for the excessive variety of Italians who’ve been named, although three of them are over age 80 and thus ineligible to vote. But Italy nonetheless leads the school with extra cardinals than another nation, with 22 voting-age prelates.

Francis has continued the development of naming cardinals from the “peripheries” of the Catholic Church: Brunei obtained its first-ever cardinal with the Vatican’s ambassador to the nation, Cardinal-designate Cornelius Sim.

Rwanda additionally obtained its solely cardinal with the archbishop of Kigali, Antoine Kambanda, whose household was slaughtered in the course of the Rwandan genocide. Kambanda made the journey to Rome for the ceremony, Sin stayed dwelling as a consequence of Covid-19 restrictions.

History’s first Jesuit pope has additionally elevated the variety of cardinals who belong to spiritual orders, naming three Franciscans this time round in a yr wherein the pope, who named himself after St. Francis of Assisi, launched an encyclical impressed by the saint’s name to fraternity and solidarity with the weakest.